The Chicken Run is the next most expensive thing you will buy, next to chicken houses and is most likely to be the weakest link as far as predators like foxes are concerned. I can’t imagine anything more entertaining than watching your kids run around at full steam… birds running, feathers flying, trying to chase chickens back into a coop. If you’ve never made a DIY chicken coop then I would highly, highly suggest that you buy some good chicken coop plans. If you have a good set of blueprints then you’ve got a significant advantage, if not you should be prepared to spend much longer (and more money!) on the actual build. If you need more or less space, feel free to scale the measurements accordingly. Note that you may need a third hinge directly in the middle, depending on how tall your chicken coop is.
Access to the run from the outside is important because at some point you’ll want to get inside to mingle with the chickens, make repairs, or clean it out. You can see in the photo above where I used 2 x 4’s for the vertical upper walls, but as I mentioned, the plans call for 2 x 2’s. You can’t tell from the picture, but the floor of the nesting boxes is tilted towards the coop so water will flow out when cleaning. So if you’re planning to have 3, then you’ll need 12 square foot coop (3×4, 6×2, or bigger).
Your coop isn’t just a wall and roof to protect your chickens, there are things on the inside (and outside) to keep your chickens alive and healthy. At this point, the 2nd half only has a couple support beams and chicken wire over the top, covered by heavy thick plastic-as we’re moving into the fall and the non-ending winter rain. Next, I framed out the floor of the nesting box from the side of the chicken coop framed floor.
I have a U-bracket on the chicken coop entrance and two L-brackets on the end of the ramp that simply hook on. The University of Tennessee : Find an interesting chicken house that can be great for a larger amount of birds in these plans. The most common form of protection is chicken wire, which is just a thin metal mesh that you can place across the outside of your coop to keep attackers away.
If you are going to use this coop in a small backyard, you should build a separated run around it. Some coops, such as chicken tractors, are meant to be moved around from place to place as a way to protect chickens from acquiring parasites or over-grazing on grass. This is the strongest driving force to me. If I can get my feed bill near zero, then I have increased my profit margin by a factor of 8 or so. Plus, I am powerfully driven by the idea of my animals eating from a polyculture. Since this coop is stationary, you’ll need to create separate environments for your chickens to roam in during the day that will simulate this effect.
Even if you are using the plans I suggested above, I think it’s a good idea to plan everything out with regards to materials. With three opening panels for cleaning and easy chicken removal, the Cluck Carrier offers unparalleled ease-of-use. Please note that no chicken was harmed during the making of this coop and all testing was done in very controlled manner were no chicken was ever placed in danger.
With enough space for over 100 chickens the Poultry Farmer 2 chicken coop plan has all of the amenities of the poultry farmer such as chicken accesses, full human accesses, cleanouts and convenient nesting boxes. Birds that live most of the day ranging outside the coop and run will only spend time inside the coop sleeping and egg-laying and will be fine with less than 4 square feet per bird. I have also included two other coop designs as further examples of ways that you can put a coop together quickly and cheaply, and even better still, with recycled materials. This way, the chickens can get some ‘outdoor’ space before the extended chicken run is completed.
One note on the posts next to the chicken coop These were placed to be right up against the chicken coop We also attached the wire to the posts and to the coop itself for redundant security. Once bump out has been assembled, attach to the side of the coop with the right side lined up with the pass-though opening in the siding. Possibly one of the most important factors that will need to be looked at is the size of chicken coop you want to build.
After that incident I went back and put a staple in every other ring on the chicken wire all the way around the run. Use this run for your girls when the weather is really bad or when there is a higher risk of predators but at other times, open the door and let them out! Don’t get it wrong, just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s bad…it’s really good. At the bottom of the chicken run is a door, for accessing the composted manure and mulch that makes its way down there over time.
At night, dark time means they head for the safe-house to be shut in. The off side are vermin attracted by feed, vermin living on the feathered friends and generally walking on chicken poop if they are free-range. Basically, a chicken run is a structure with enclosed walls that is attached to the coop. One of the biggest concerns I had was dealing with the potential flooding of the area surrounding the chicken coop.
Easy cleaning and maintenance (including being able to stand inside & have easy access to clean coop). So most of your chicken feeding efforts are focused in the warmer months when your chicken feed crops can be producing prolifically. For example, if you are only going to be at your current house for 12 months then build it out of second hand materials and just get the chookies into your garden ASAP. If your coop is not raised, your flooring might be dirt (easy for predators to dig under to gain access), cement (deters predators and rot), or wood. In the lower sections where it was hard to reach (mainly under the coop) I used small screws and washers.
We also had to squeeze it between the fence and the mulberry tree, as this was the ideal location to house the coop for protection from the elements. If you are interested in building this coop yourself, the PDF plans are available on etsy HERE They include a material list, a cutting diagram plus five pages of step-by-step assembly instructions that you can download and print out. Mr. Chicken Chick went a little above and beyond the call of roof duty, but a roof doesn’t have to be elaborate to be effective. Let me tell you from experience, there is nothing worse than having to basically climb in the coop to get it clean.
If this is your family home and you have a plan of how you want things to look for the next 10-20 years then I would say think a little about the materials you want to build it out of. If you have a large block you may be able to build it down the back and screen a cheaper construction with a hedge. Asking around for scrap pieces of wood can also be one way to locate some materials to use, but bear in mind if you’re going to go this route there is a higher chance you’ll have to pull some nails and may wind up with a chicken coop that isn’t exactly matching.
If you are going to build a chicken run, you will need to spend less money but more time. I see people build massive, elaborate stuff for raising chickens that deprive them of fresh foods or bugs even in the summer. You have two options here, you can either landscape an area of land that you really want to build the chicken coop on or you can look for a piece of land that will already work well to build on without having to landscape at all. Chicken poop on my porch, in my shop, on my workbench.. it’s just everywhere.. they started nesting in the baler.
The key point is that you don’t need to buy materials if you don’t want to. Every council clean up would have everything you need for free. Some folks say you can get by with less space (about 3 square feet), but if you have it, flaunt it. We have a coop that is about 8′ wide x 8′ long and 6′ high which provides very comfortable digs for six birds. Before I poured the concrete I had inserted a four foot section pvc pipe on the lowest part of the coop.
Since there is loads of chicken poop in the area and a lack of plant growth to take in the manure, the poop is headed for the groundwater supply. If you have many logs and/or live in a log house, this plans might be a perfect choice. Many great architects and builders started with chicken coops, so test your design and construction skills. Don’t throw out that old crib—turn it into a coop by covering it with chicken wire.